This book gave my 2018 reading log a jolt! The Woman in the Window is a psychological thriller of extreme paranoia, psychosis, medication and wine. These elements combined are dangerous for the characters in the novel and, as I was describing the book to a colleague, I felt drunken and off-balance while reading it.
An isolated woman with agoraphobia believes she witnesses a catastrophic event in the house across the park from her rambling mansion in Harlem. The woman, Anna Fox, is heavily medicated, has been drinking copious amounts of wine, and has a reputation for being obsessed with film noir. The neighbors think she invents scenarios. But she's also a doctor, kind and smart, and wants to help people. She takes the Hippocratic Oath to "first do no harm" seriously. So, what does she really see? And why is she the way she is?
Oh, I did not guess what was happening here. I was caught up in what was going on with Anna and missed any other clues that might have protected me from the shock of my life. I kept thinking about this: How does someone with agoraphobia manage day-to-day events, catastrophic or otherwise, when they can't leave their home? It's remarkable how far we've come with home services of a wide variety. Anna lives her days alone spying on her neighbors through her Nikon and has been doing so for more than 11 months. All of her food, meds, and wine are delivered to her front door. Her physical therapist visits her at home and she attends therapy sessions via Skype. She has a bit of social interaction via an online chat group. But there's no denying that her isolation spells trouble. There is some dark and twisty stuff here. Will you see it coming? I sure didn't.
My words of advice: Lock your doors. Change your passwords. Trust no one. And always wear more than a silk robe. You never know when you're going to have to make a heroic trek to the neighborhood coffee shop. And that's no joke.